Friday, March 19, 2010

Song stories: Cannibal

Last summer we recorded our first full length album, and we thought it'd be cool to give people insight into the stories behind the songs as we approach its release. Since we just posted Cannibal, it seemed like the logical first song to start with.

Cannibal was written in a couple of phases, starting off quickly but taking a little while to tie together at the end. The song first kicked off a year ago, when Jake started working on some of his most morbid lyrics yet (which is saying something if you ever really listen to some of the dark stuff he spews out). The idea that powered the lyrics was using cannibalism as a metaphor for heartbreak, more or less comparing heartbreak to the act of being eaten (we know, it's a stretch, but Usually our lyrics are works in progress--they take a while to come together. But it was different with Cannibal. Within an hour of beginning work on the song, Jake had finished what would become the finalized lyrics.

The next day Jake was listening to a new album (Heart On by Eagles of Death Metal) and the first track just sort of jumped out and slapped him across the bearded face. Taking a cue from the track "Anything 'Cept the Truth", he started working on a song that used a lot of sliding power chords, turning up the distortion to get a full pulsing rock sound. Although it seemed sort of weird at 1st, we all joined up on doing banshee screams after the verse, sort of turning it into a guttural craziness midway through. For the chorus and bridge, we decided to really mix things up, writing our first ever ska sections. We wanted to a short song, but with enough variation to keep your attention from section to section.

What ended up taking the longest to hammer out was what would be the lead melody of the song. We tried a number of different options for the first few months, but eventually Steve came up with an idea that stuck. We're all huge Nels Cline fans, so Steve channeled his inner Nels and decided to basically go batshit crazy throughout the song without having a typically 'melodic' lead line. It only took a couple of takes to lay down in the studio, and we also discovered something pretty funny--whenever Steve gets really into ripping a solo, he starts kicking his leg like a horse unconsciously.

Once we had the lead guitar finalized, the song really came together. We hope you like not only the song but getting a peak into the story behind it--we'll post another one of these in the next few weeks talking about Shine.